UPDATE NO 374 18 October 2019

Newsletters A brief summary of the main headlines and highlights for this week are shown below. Any tools, templates or documents needed for the actions required are provided here also. If you would like to know more about these workstreams or the others in the Programme, click on the main section icons shown above. At […]

Three children playing happily together


A brief summary of the main headlines and highlights for this week are shown below. Any tools, templates or documents needed for the actions required are provided here also. If you would like to know more about these workstreams or the others in the Programme, click on the main section icons shown above. At SESLIP we are always on the look-out for good ideas that might be better implemented regionally rather than locally. If you have any suggestions, please contact Richard Tyndall, SESLI Programme Manager. Our Regional Improvement Plan for 2019-20 can be found here.

UPDATE NO 374 18 October 2019


Home education: a choice or last resort?


Children leaving secondary school to be home-educated often have complex needs and some make the move as a last resort rather than a preferred choice, new research by Ofsted has revealed.

Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, said:

“Home education is a legitimate parental choice and can be a positive decision when parents are well equipped to provide a good education.

“However, children should not be moved to home education simply to resolve difficulties in school. Schools, local authorities and parents need to work together before such a decision is made, to ensure that home education is genuinely in the interests of children and not just the best thing for schools or parents. It’s vital that parents are fully informed about the alternatives, and that they understand all the implications and costs of home-educating their child.”

Action Required:

Ofsted carried out the study: ‘Exploring moving to home education in secondary schools’ across 7 local authorities in the East Midlands specifically to look at how and why children move from secondary school to home education.

Ofsted’s report makes several recommendations for government, schools and local authorities, aimed at supporting the interests of children who may be moving from secondary school to home education, including:

  • the DfE should consider the extent to which current legislation and guidance considers children’s views during decisions to home-educate
  • schools and local authorities should develop clear processes for working together once they know a parent’s intention to home-educate
  • local authorities and schools should be aware that when a school writes a letter to remove a child to home education on behalf of a parent, this may be evidence of off-rolling
  • after a move to home education is made, it would be good practice for schools to provide parents with children’s previous classwork

For more information about the SESLIP work on home education and children missing education please contact Chris Owen (details below)


AD Education Network – next meeting Friday 13 December. Please note the change of date.


The date for the next Education Network meeting has had to be changed: it will now be on 13th Dec from 10.30am to 1.30pm at Broadway House as usual.

The meeting will include a focus on attainment in 2019 (both the positives and the challenges), with an emphasis on vulnerable groups. Chris Owen (contact details below) will be contacting members to discuss this further and ask for possible MAT leader representatives who could join the meeting.

Please go to the Education Network activity page for more infomation about this group

Action Required:

Education Network Sub-groups:

The Education Data sub-group meets on Thursday 14th November, 10am to 4pm in the Longley Room, Crawley Library (more from Daryl Perilli contact details below)

The new Children Missing Education sub-group has its first meeting on 11th November, 1pm to 3.30pm at Shaw House, Newbury. RG14 2DR (contact person: Kelly Rooker)

Please either nominate your LA rep for these groups or make sure you liaise with them about the agenda beforehand. 


3 recent DfE publications


1. The provisional KS 2 performance data has been published by the DfE. The statistical summary and more details are available here

2. Guidance on intervention with maintained schools, academies and PRUs setting out the respective roles and powers of local authorities and regional schools commissioners

Action Required:

3. Engaging parents with their school’s relationships education policy: a guide for primary schools: part of the preparations for compulsory relationships education and RSE from September 2020. 


NAO report on SEND arrangements and funding


National Audit Office (NAO) report on the arrangements and funding to support children and young people with SEND; an excellent and critical report from NAO which is very well evidenced and captures the financial pressures locally and nationally and is critical of gaps in leadership and direction from the DfE.

Action Required:

At January 2019, 1.3 million pupils in England (14.9% of all pupils) were recorded as having special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The full report (60 pages) is here.

A summary (9 pages) is here.


Developing Models of Social Work Project


The project plan can be found on the Models of Social Work webpage

The objective of this piece of work is to share and develop new models of social care practice that fit the times. Authorities are questioning their models of social care practice. Some are seeking to integrate early help and social care and would value some collective thinking about how these services are delivered in this new context. Some large LAs have been spending significant amounts on consultancies to deliver major systems changes. We will investigate the options for shared learning and other collaborative approaches to support new models of practice. Contact Diane Williamson (details below) for more information.

Action Required:

The first stage of this work is to collate information about models of practice that are being used across the region. We will then have an overview of models that are currently in use and an overview of the evidence of success and the impact of models of practice.  We will then seek to develop an understanding of what works and why, within the context of different types of Local Authorities and also develop an understanding of the challenges associated with the models.  The project will culminate in a conference to be held in spring 2020, with associated publication of the different models of practice.

We are now ready to start to collate information about models of practice that are being used across the region.  We have developed a brief questionnaire that has been ‘road tested’ by colleagues in Bracknell Forest to ensure it isn’t too onerous and gathers the pertinent information. Please return to Diane Williamson (contact details below) by 16th November 2019. 


In-house Fostering Project


Our in-house fostering project will be taking forward three areas of work, sponsored by Pinaki Ghoshal, (DCS Brighton and Hove) and supported by our consultant Rebecca Eligon. The three areas are:


Marketing our Unique Selling Points (USPs)


For more information about these areas see box on the right.

If you want to get involved please contact Rebecca Eligon (contact details below)

Action Required:

Sharing: This is likely to be explored via the Regional Adoption Agency footprints, rather than across the 19 authorities.  This element of the project is intended to build on informal and ad hoc sharing to systematise and formalise these arrangements.  The detail will need to be determined within the different groupings and could include:

  • sharing of foster carers 
  • sharing access to training for foster carers (i.e. foster carers can access training from other LAs/RAAs),
  • sharing access to peer support (i.e. foster carers can access peer support from other LAs/RAAs), and
  • sharing of good practice (i.e. through a network for fostering leads, possibly repurposing the existing Fostering Network South East session).

Marketing our Unique Selling Points: This element of the project is about developing a coherent, simple and more nuanced set of messages about LA fostering (i.e. not profit making, first access to children, grounded in a locality/place, good training and support).  This will be complemented by mystery shopping of our existing offer asking a small number of foster carers to call up and review online content across the 19 authorities. 

Commissioning: A number of strengths and particular issues were highlighted with the existing IFAs with whom the 19 LAs work.  This element of the project will seek to share this insight with commissioners, framework managers as well as fostering leads. We are exploring the extent to which this element of the project can align with/support the complex LAC project.

Reminders from previous weeks


A system in crisis? Ombudsman complaints about special educational needs at alarming level


On October 4, Michael King, the LGSC Ombudsman published a report, “Not going to plan? – Education, Health and Care plans two years on in which he reveals he is now upholding nearly nine out of every 10 (87 per cent) cases it investigates – compared with 57 per cent across all cases it looks at.

Action Required:

In 2018/19 the ombudsman received 45 per cent more complaints and carried out 80 per cent more detailed investigations about EHC plans than in 2016/17. It also warned of “poor planning and anticipation of needs”, such as council areas without any specialist provision available to them, poor communication and preparation for meetings – including regular stories of non-attendance and no, or insufficient, paperwork being submitted, and inadequate partnership working – with EHC plans regularly issued without advice from health or social care services. It also criticised a lack of oversight from senior managers, with cases “drifting needlessly” and “attempts to farm out responsibilities to parents”. The full report is available here.


UCL Study of Care Records for Looked After Children and Care Leavers


The MIRRA (Memory – Identity – Rights in Records – Access) project, led by Professor Elizabeth Shepherd (UCL Information Studies), collected interview and focus group data from more than 80 care leavers, social work practitioners and information professionals.

Researchers found that the voices of the children and young people who lived in social care were often entirely missing from their own records, causing significant distress and upset. Furthermore, despite care leavers placing huge significance on their records, the research found that the importance and value of effective recordkeeping was not widely recognised or understood by local authorities, who act as gate-keepers for these records. 

Professor Shepherd said: “Social care records are a vital resource for memory-making and identity for adults who were in care as children.” The full press release is available here

Action Required:

To address the findings the project has set out a number of recommendations for local authorities, information and data professionals, and social workers:

  • Records should be co-created by all those involved in a child’s care. They should include the voices of children themselves, taking into account their life-long needs for memory, identity and justice.
  • Best practice guidance for records creation and management should be established for all organisations with safeguarding responsibilities and guardianship of children’s memories.
  • New standards for access to records for all care-experienced persons should be developed. New standards should address the rights of care-experienced people and the responsibilities of institutions.


Leadership Development in the South East – Needs Analysis


Please follow this link for the The Staff College report on Leadership Development Needs Analysis in the South East, published this week. Many thanks to 71 colleagues who responded either by questionnaire or phone interview. 

Action Required:

Alison Jeffery (DCS Portsmouth) will be working with the SESLIP team to develop the repsonse to the report. If you would like more information please contact Mark Evans (contact details below).


November – January 2019-20 Peer Challenge


The cycle of preparation for the November – January 2019-20 Peer Challanges is underway. We have brought forward the start date by a few months to avoid a clash with the Ofsted cycle of annual conversations which are due to start in 2020.

New data profiles are now available for each participating authority from the Peer Challenge Library restricted area.

Please go to the Peer Challenge in the South East page if you want further information, or contact Isabelle Gregory (details below).

Action Required:







25th November


East Sussex



9th January 2020

West Sussex



Quartet 3

11th November


Hampshire and Isle of Wight

Milton Keynes


29th November

Windsor and Maidenhead




15th November

West Berkshire


Brighton and Hove


13th November

Bracknell Forest



Tools & Templates

We have produced a Regional Improvement Plan which will underpin activities in 2019-20.

Not going to plan? – Education, Health and Care plans two years on LGSC Ombudsman report published 4 October 2019

Ofsted Review of ILACS inspections published 26 September 2019

Children’s Commissioner Report on Homeless Children

The Good Childhood Report 2019 (The Children Society)

What Works Centre Updates – Trauma-informed models in out-of-home care

Nuffield Foundation Review of Special Guardianship published 2 August 2019

Interim results from Devolved Budgets pilots (What Works Centre) published 15 August 2019

A report by the Department for Education, Evaluation of regional adoption agencies

NCH Campaign for National Childhood Strategy

Children’s Commissioner Report on Childhood Vulnerability

Missing People has published research into the value of the return home interview (RHI).

What Works for Children’s Social Care: Intensive Family Preservation Services (IFPS) Review

Changes to compensation arrangements for survivors of violent crime

The DfE Review of Children in Need is here.

National Assessment and Accreditation System (NAAS): toolkit and examples of practice simulationsList of early adopter sites includes Hampshire and West Berks in the South East.

The Tackling Child Exploitation (TCE) Support Programme led by Research in Practice with The Children’s Society and University of Bedfordshire is appointed by the DfE to deliver a programme to tackle child exploitation. Over the next three years, every local authority area will be able to apply for ‘Bespoke Support’.  More information here and here

The recent AD Safeguarding Network meeting highlighted the following links: 

New service models (e.g. Family Safeguarding, No wrong front door etc) Family Safeguarding HertfordshireNo Wrong Door EvaluationSocial Care Commentary on Using Models of PracticeOfsted Checklist for Implementing Models

Reunification: Reunification Guidance NSPCCReunification Implementation NSPCCReunification Leeds CC

Unexplained pupil exits from schools: A growing problem? The Education Policy Institute (EPI) has published the most comprehensive analysis to date  using over a decade’s worth of Department for Education data. DfE’s Elective Home Education guidance for local authorities was updated on 2 April. Ofsted has published detailed figures revealing the scale of the problem with suspected illegal schools in England.

SESLIP Leadership Development Prospectus

The MoC area of the Seslip website now includes the latest versions of key documents, including the:

Contact Details

Data Benchmarking: Luke Ede (South East Sector-Led Improvement Programme)


07925 148597

LGA Children’s Improvement Adviser: Helen Watson (South East Sector-Led Improvement Programme)


07810 011892

Education Network: Chris Owen (South East Sector-Led Improvement Programme)


07825 862330

SESLIP Education Data Group Lead: Daryl Perilli (Brighton and Hove)


South East Grid for Learning – Consortium Manager: Krista Pickering (South East Sector-Led Improvement Programme)


07872 014083

SESLIP Consultant: Isabelle Gregory (South East Sector-Led Improvement Programme)


07931 586784

CSC Workforce, PSW and AD Safeguarding Network Lead: Mark Evans (South East Sector-Led Improvement Programme)


07803 147072

Adoption; Fostering; Kinship and Early Help Regional Networks: Rebecca Eligon (South East Sector-Led Improvement Programme)


07944 996219

SESLI Programme Manager: Richard Tyndall (South East Sector-Led Improvement Programme)


07880 787007

S.E. Region SEND Network Programme Co-ordinator: Sheelagh Sullivan (South East Sector-Led Improvement Programme)